The stunning new book The French Place in the Bay of Islands presents very human stories of conflict, ambition, struggle, success and failure, shedding new light on Māori-Pakeha relations at the time of Treaty-making at Waitangi and of the founding of the last nation in the world, New Zealand. These are stories centered on the enduring French and Catholic influence in the Bay of Islands, specifically the work of Bishop Pompallier and of the Marist missionaries whose South Seas headquarters and printery were then in Kororāreka Russell. Kororāreka’s sensational reputation as a "hellhole of vice" has long tended to mask another, more compelling narrative. Illustrating some of the commercial, religious and political rivalry amongst Māori hapu and between Western nations at the time, this book highlights that narrative and makes persuasive reading for all.
Epsom Trust plate inside cover